07fayairportFayetteville airport gets a makeover

A multimillion-dollar renovation of Fayetteville Regional Airport is underway. It’s the first major makeover of the local airport in more than 30 years, although smaller improvements were made in 1999, 2003 and 2006. Renovations will begin with the demolition of the original Concourse A, which is still in use. It was built in 1969. The replacement Concourse A will include two second level jet bridges with a ground-loading gate to provide direct service access to aircraft.

This first phase of the terminal renovation willcost $17.6 million in federal, state and airport funds. The bulk of it, nearly $14 million, is part of an estimated $30 million in Federal Aviation Administration grants awarded the airport by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Renovations will also include replacement and relocation of the restaurant, which will be designed to primarily serve flight passengers.

The total project is tentatively divided into three phases. Additional value engineering must be completed to determine final project costs, said Airport Director Brad Whited. The Fayetteville Regional Airport services 500,000 customers annually. This portion of the renovation project is expected to take 18 months. The travelers will not be affected by the work.

Firefighting danger

Municipal and rural firefighters deal with hazardous situations each time they respond to alarms. Some fires are preventable and should never have occurred. A case in point was a mobile home fire off Wildwood Drive in West Fayetteville last week. It was the third fire in the trailer since early summer.

“The mobile home was the subject of a fire in July with minor exterior damage,” said city spokesman Nathan Walls. The blaze on July 1 gutted the mobile home, rendering it uninhabitable, said Fire Marshall Michael Martin.

Firefighters returned to the Lafayette Plantation Mobile Home Park the next day to extinguish a blaze that apparently was rekindled from the day before. Utilities were pulled at that time, Martin said.

“Structures determined to be dangerous are set for hearings, and subsequent orders to repair or demolish them may be issued,” Walls said. “We initiated a substandard building hearing and subsequent order to repair with a compliance date of Jan. 23, 2018.”

The city’s governing council must eventually issue the order to remove the burned-out hulk. Last week, the trailer flared up again, and was fully engulfed in flames when first responders from Fire Station 12 arrived.

“This doublewide was vacant ... and because of the previous fires, a defensive attack was used to gain control, ... which provided for a safer entry to confirm no one was present,” said Battalion Chief David Hargis, who was the fire scene commander. Hargis said none of his firefighters were hurt.

A look at city committees

Fayetteville Mayor Nat Robertson started installing committees soon after he took office four years ago. Since then, he’s established several standing committees of council members.

When Robertson served on city council in the 1990s, the body had a few working committees. So far, the mayor has created eight committees. Robertson appointed himself to five of the small groups, which number from three to five members. Three committees are hybrid groups to include PWC representatives. One also includes a county commissioner.

Robertson appointed Mayor Pro Tem Mitch Colvin to four committees and named him chairman of two of them. Councilman Bill Crisp sits on five committees. Councilmen Chalmers McDougald and Larry Wright have one committee assignment each.

Whether Mayor-elect Colvin will continue the practice remains to be seen. There’s a ninth committee, but it’s been around for nearly 10 years and determines citizen appointments to various municipal boards and commissions. It was the only standing committee prior to Robertson taking office.

The other groups deal with such issues as the parks and recreation bond spending, the baseball stadium, city-county emergency communications, fleet maintenance, city-county sales tax, Shaw Heights annexation, gateway beautification and city auditing.

Combatting addiction one step at a time

A small Moore County firm may have a solution to part of the country’s ongoing opioid epidemic. DisposeRx Inc. of Southern Pines has developed a compound that, when combined with water, virtually destroys unused and unwanted prescription drugs. It becomes a biodegradable goo that makes the meds impossible to use. And, they can be thrown in the trash.

Taking prescription opioids non-medically is considered one of the ways people get addicted to drugs. Unwanted or expired prescriptions are an easy source for those wanting to abuse medications, according to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.

“Our passion is to find a way to stop this cycle of addiction,” John Holaday, the company’s co-founder, said. His concept is to include a packet of DisposeRx with each prescription when it’s picked up from the pharmacy. It only costs $1.50. Ten thousand of the packets have already been distributed.

In North Carolina, more than 12,000 people died from opioid-related overdoses between 1999 and 2016, according to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. “It’s important to get these drugs out of circulation,” said Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., whose district includes Southern Pines.

Passing of a true public servant

Hope Mills has lost a longtime town commissioner. Mayor Pro Tem Robert “Bob” Gorman Sr., 71, died Nov. 4. Gorman served on the Town Board of Commissioners for 14 years. He was a 24-year Air Force veteran.

“He really was a great man,” said Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner, who regarded Gorman as a close friend and professional colleague. Gorman was a native of Wilmington and later lived in Asheville before settling in Hope Mills.

 

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